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Our 7 Qtpies

October 31, 2008

On a writing frenzy!

Wow! Drew wrote again!

Hey All!
Happy Birthday Sam! I love you!
I really wish I didn't have to miss Sam's birthday. I miss that kid so much! I miss you all, but I tear up thinking about that squirt!
Every week at chapel, they play the "Letters from War" music video as we're being seated, and we all get really emotional. It reminds me why I'm here. We always try to get to chapel as early as possible, but its hard since we have to rush to get through chow first.

I think we're finally getting our acts together. Third Week of Training (3WOT) is crucial. We're able to get graded on ANYTHING at ANY time. If we pull together though, we could get Honor Flight. Not many of us are putting faith in that being possible, but I'm hoping.
Well, I love you all!
Your Airman (to be)
AnDrew

Hope-Anne has gotten 2 letters from him.

Hope-Anne,
I'm flying over Colorado right now, and you wouldn't believe how funny it is! All of the farms are perfect circles! Some of them have different crops cut into pie shaped pieces even!
The people I'm travelling with are pretty cool. Ben was my roommate last night at Fargo. He's from Duluth. We're both travelling with a girl from Big Lake named Britanny. Neither one has ever flown before today. They seem to be doing pretty good with the whole experience.
Well, I'm coming in to San Antonio.
Love ya sis!
boy, he writes slow if that is all he wrote from flying over Colorado to landing in Texas! Or the plane was really cruising.
and

Hope-Anne
Hey! I'm missing you guys alot, but I'm having fun here! It's hard, but enjoyable.
I'm part of a Flight called Flight 017. I live in a dorm with 45 of my new closest friends. (we call each other wingmen in the Air Force) I sleep on a bunk bed with a bunk mate named Schwartz. On the top bunk to our right is a guy named Murphey. We call ourselves the three stooges.
So I hear you're getting good in band. Is that true? I'm proud of you kiddo!
But I have to go.
Love,
Drew

Isn't that just sweet?

I got an email today that made me just cry and cry.

I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight. 'I'm glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will get a short nap,' I thought.

Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a conversation. 'Where are you headed?' I asked the soldier seated nearest to me. 'Chicago - to Great Lakes Base. We'll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we're being deployed to Iraq '

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It would be several hours before we reached Chicago, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time. As I reached for my wallet, I overheard soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch. 'No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks. I'll wait till we get to Chicago ' His friend agreed. I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch.

I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar bill. 'Take a lunch to all those soldiers.' She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. 'My son was a soldier in Iraq; it's almost like you are doing it for him.'

Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated. She stopped at my seat and asked, 'Which do you like best, beef or chicken?''Chicken,' I replied, wondering why she asked. She turned and went to the front of plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class. 'This is your thanks.'

After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room. A man stopped me. 'I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this.' He handed me twenty-five dollars. Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand, an said, 'I want to shake your hand.'
Quickly unfastening my seatbelt I stood and took the Captain's hand. With a booming voice he said, 'I was a soldier and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot.'
I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers.
Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.

When we landed in Chicago I gathered my belongings and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five dollars!

Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base. I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars.
'It will take you some time to reach the base. It will be about time for a sandwich. God Bless You.'

Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow travelers.
As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could only give them a couple of meals. It seemed so little...

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America ' for an amount of 'up to and including my life.'
That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.

October 30, 2008

Drew wrote to us!

We got letters from Drew today!

Hey all!
I'm doing well! I can't wait to get to see you though!

I'm getting really close to my Flight. There are some cool guys in here. We''re finally getting our acts together. For the past few weeks we haven't exactly been smiled upon by the MTI's, but hopefully we can work our butts off and get honor flight.

Personally, I've managed to stay under the radar and not get yelled at too much. I was surprised at how much time you have to eat. I have more than enough time to eat all my food. Granted I have to eat faster than at home, but I don't have trouble finishing meals.

PT is a blast! I was the fastest runner in my flight on our last evaluation! I ran the mile and a half in 9:30! If I work on my push-ups and sit-ups, I'm sure I'll have the Thunderbolt Honors. I think I'll have the Warhawk run time, but the push-ups and sit-ups are insane!

I had KP last weekend. It wasn't terrible. It reminded me of workin' at K-bob, so I was happy, but it was like three times the work and twice the hours. Some of the people didn't have a clue what they were doing, however, so we finished late and an MTI came in to yell at us.

You know, I still need a picture of MY FAMILY, which wasn't in the letter you sent me!

I was thinking, since Grandma lives in AZ, she should come to graduation if she can. I know none of you can make it, but I'd like to have somebody there.

I love you all,
AnDrew

Now, Drew has gone all ferhuddled. He brought pictures of lots of GIRLS, but not one of his family. So I sent him a letter using the new stamps I got with our family picture on them. I made sure he'd have something to look at. How did he not notice it? It is more than double the size of a normal stamp.
It would be awesome to be able to go to his graduation, but I don't know if it is remotely possible. Grandma won't be able to go, she just moved and had major car repairs. So we are leaving it to God to provide for us to go if Drew needs it emotionally.

In between the loads......

I'm working on loads of laundry and loads of dishes, but I need a break between them. (I'm trying to ignore the enormous mound of toys that I am sorting)

Last night Donnie was watching some political garbage show and Samuel was playing near the TV. Samuel turned to Donnie, scootched down into a football position, snarled at Donnie, banged his fists against his bare chest, then said "Spiderman" as only he can (piemaaa), and barreled straight across the room into Donnie's knee. "Oooff!" Then he backed up and did it again. "Piemaaa!" Way too funny!

I am working on getting Drew some mail at least close to every day. I know he will appreciate it. He is a super social person, and probably really misses contact with people he knows.

Yesterday was Devon's day to write. Against his wishes, but I forced him. He didn't know what to write about, so I suggested he write about his experience at a Screamo concert that he went to recently. (don't ask me what Screamo is, I just know that it is loud and screamy, whether it is a type of music or the name of the band? No idea)

Kaytlin took Devon and his friend, Josh to the concert. I think he agreed to do her chores or something, lol. It isn't normally their type of music, but Devon and Josh wanted to meet up with a friend who lives pretty far away.
So, they are there, and besides finding out that it isn't nearly as exciting as they were told, they found out what weirdos go there, lol. Just about everyone was in a bad of some kind.
This one guy, maybe a Junior or Senior, came up to Devon and stroked his cheek and said "You have nice skin." Now, that would creep me out big time. But I am not Devon. He thought it was hysterical. The guy wasn't a creep, he was just weird. Funny is their word, I guess.
After the concert Josh and this guy were play fighting and the guy came barrelling at Josh and head butted him in the stomach. (not hard) And then he said "If I were a unicorn there'd be blood." The kids can't even repeat that without laughing.

I think Drew will get a kick out of it.

I want to stop letting them go to weird Screamo concerts.

Why do I do this to myself?

Fall Bloggy Giveaways Ignore Your Kids Week is coming to an end soon. I really enjoy the bloggy giveaways, both hosting and entering, and I love winning. But this time it has gotten insane.

Insane!

I worked Monday, so I didn't start out right from the beginning, and when I logged in Monday evening there were nearly 1,000 giveaways listed. Now I knew it was going to be tough if there were that many on Monday already. It does seem to have wound down, with only about 1500 on Thursday morning.

I started out thinking I would hit the gift cards, the major event (there is always something, like the fruit roll ups or the yogurt in times past, and this time the Chex mix spa baskets galore), and a few other interesting ones. I haven't even looked at the book giveaways unless they were for kids. I barely even touched the jewelry. So that was the plan, just a few select types of things.

I started out on my mother in law, Joyce's laptop. I love that she lent it to me so that I would have something until Donnie gets the parts to fix my computer, but it gives new meaning to the term "Slow as molasses in January." Fine for most things, but for the giveaways? Not so fun. Besides the slowness, it couldn't handle the overload from so many sites and had to be restarted several times. It takes 20 minutes to restart the computer. Not even kidding. Then there were sites that just could not open in it.
So at night I would confiscate Donnie's work laptop. Much, much faster! However, it doesn't get along with all blogs. Like mine. It hates my blog. Some blogs were so difficult that I couldn't click on anything, leave comments OR shut the stupid window off! The window would just stay open until I shut the computer down.
With all that frustration, and a bit of sleep deprivation tossed in, I became crazed. That became quite evident last night.
I sat at my desk with Donnie's laptop in front of me and Joyce's laptop next to me on a TV tray. I was determined that I would enter those stupid giveaways no matter which computer I had to use! It turned into a mission. I became less discerning on what to enter as the evening wore on. And then the morning wore on.
Finally Donnie's computer flipped out at 3am and I went to bed. I was at #1347. Then I got up at 7:30 and finished all but 2 before Donnie got home from his doctor's appointment and took his computer.

Very little sleep. And very little house cleaning done. Thankfully Joyce's laptop was so slow that I was able to do a load of dishes while web pages were loading, or we'd have not had plates to eat on last night. But I am caught up on the giveaways! I may even get up enough energy to post another giveaway here. Maybe.

Where are you in the giveaways? Did you find a gem you really hope to win?
If someone can tell me how many of those Chex basket giveaways there are, I'll send you a $10 gift card to Build a Bear Workshop! I lost count a LONG time ago.

October 28, 2008

Yoplait Bloggy Giveaway

It is that time of fall again! My favorite part of each season, since it happens 4 times a year, you know. What time is that?
Why, it is the Ignore Your Kids Week Fall Bloggy Giveaways, of course!
I am going to join the fun again with a great giveaway with 3 winners!
But first, a little about me, because it is my blog, after all. I am a Christian mom to 7 children. My oldest is finally out of the nest and bothering his drill seargent (or whatever they are called in the Air Force) instead of driving me nuts. And I know that for 6 weeks he is safe from girls. Really, I love Drew and am really proud of what a wonderful Christian young man he has become and is becoming. I have 3 more teens, a pre-teen and two preschoolers.
I blog about lots of crazy things that happen in family life. With 7 kids, blog fodder is just handed to me on a silver platter! I hope you'll come back and visit when the craziness is over.

Yoplait is giving away three sets of prizes for my readers! Each gift pack includes a coupon for a free six pack of Yoplait Kids yogurt, a cooler and BrainQuest trivia game for 2-3 year olds. I want to make you aware that the free coupon that is included in the prize pack is not valid in the following states due to state laws: CA, ID, LA, NV, NJ, ND and TN. Because this is an American coupon, this is only valid for the US States that allow free dairy products, I'm sorry, you know I love you all!

Yoplait Kids makes delicious yogurt that my kids love, from little to big! My little ones love the Dora pics on the containers.
Also don't forget that during their annual drive that runs through December 31, 2008. For every pink lid you send in Yoplait® will donate 10 cents to Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, up to $1.5 million. And they guarantee a donation of at least $500,000.

I am going to be nice and not make you jump through hoops for this giveaway.
I just want a comment about your favorite yogurt flavor and a way to reach you if you win.
Giveaway ends October 31st at midnight, so the winner will be contacted on November 1-2. I can't say for sure which day, I do have 7 kids, remember? I will give 3 days to hear back, then an alternate winner will be chosen.

October 27, 2008

Bloggy goodness! ENDED

The bloggy giveaways are in full swing, and I am left behind. I worked all day and didn't get started until late, so I straggle. I will catch up, though!

You really should go check out the bloggy giveaways, you never know what treasures you will find.Pottery Apple Bakers I found the neatest, and most unique giveaway this time. Please visit LaneyPottery.com to see the Pottery Apple Bakers for yourself. I am totally in love with them and want to ask the guy to send me some in his redwood or paprika glaze to review and to do a giveaway, but I won't. At least not yet. I'll keep him in mind, though.

If I come up with more treasures I will post them here in this post.

THESE LINKS ARE DEAD, OLD NEWS. I'M SORRY I CAN'T MAKE THEM WORK FOR YOU.

Sam is Uncommonly Cute at age 2!

I can hardly believe it, but my baby is 2 years old today. I was so happy to finally hold him in my arms 2 years ago after a very long, long 9 months of bed rest and trials. He was small, but so healthy and so wonderful smelling.
Now he is healthy and wonderful and smells.

But, oh, he is cute! Uncommonly Cute, even!

His new birthday shirt came from Uncommonly Cute, courtesy of Uncommonly Cute and Family Review Network. They have such cool baby clothes. Birthday shirts, newborn shirts, and even cute twins sayings. Go check them out.

I adore his shirt, and so does Sam. It is so soft and fits him so well. Sam usually likes to be out of his clothes, but he even slept in this shirt. I know it is comfortable if he is willing to sleep in anything, because normally he won't sleep until his clothes are off.


I am really looking forward to this year. Sam is finally looking like he is over his health issues, and is even starting to sleep better at night. And not in my bed!

Sam is also starting to expand his vocabulary, which amuses us to no end. His smile is huge and bright. And his joy is as loud as his anger.

Happy birthday to my dear, sweet baby Samuel! The child we prayed for and adore! We love you, Sammy!

October 26, 2008

The Busy Body Book

No, this isn't a book about how to be a busy body, or have a busy body. It is a tool too help you keep your busy life in order. That is something that I desperately need.
The Busy Body Book is a fantastic, durable planner that is perfect for families. With 5 rows to use for each day, you can organize your family members' schedules, your personal and professional duties, or any number of things. Obviously this doesn't work for every member of my family, but it will work perfectly for my busy schedule. I need a slot for my reviews and when they are due, a slot for my work and appointments and meetings, a slot for the children's schedules, my husband's schedule and our church events.
I love that the Busy Body Book is so sturdy and protected against spills with a nice plastic cover. You can download sample pages and see just how handy and spacious they are. I love the month at a glance section, but I also think the handy book mark that stays in place is a great addition.
For my family, there is a wall calendar or a fridge grid that I can get to organize us all and keep it in a very central, well trafficked area. (who doesn't have their children in the fridge all the time?)
I am not about to give up my BBB, but if you want to try to win one I know where to send you! An Island Life is giving one away.
Thanks to the Family Review Network and The Busy Body Book for my awesome planner!

October 25, 2008

Drew update

Drew called home tonight!
He is loving basic training. I did not get him in trouble by calling his recruiter, thank goodness, though that would have been funny, just a little.
Drew really wants more letters, he loved the big one we sent, it was uplifting until the part about Sam's new snoring game, lol. That made him cry a bit. I guess I need to hound the kids to write to him so he can get several letters a week.

I did get some top secret information from him about his next visit home, but I am not allowed to let the kids find out, so I can't mention where he will be for Christmas. But this mama is happy!

A Turn for the Worse?

Have you ever had a turn in your life that made things easier? Your life is now flowing much more smoothly, and that makes you happy, right? No more unexpected horrors, accidents, disgusting messes. Just smooth sailing most of the time.

That is true for my life. If you start reading from the beginning of my blog you will see a dramatic change in what goes on in my life. No more bed rest from a long, miserable pregnancy. No water breaking at 33 weeks or early dilation. No more toddlers spreading poop every where EVERY day. No more baby eating poop, or eating cat food and having dead fish smelling poop. We haven't even had stitches in a year. We did have one child's foot run over by a car, but that was minor, no breaks or stitches, just gross and painful.

I do feel so much more relaxed about things, but in terms of my blog, this is a turn for the worse. What is there to write about? Sam dumped the cat's water bowl over, again. Sam took his diaper off, again. Boring!

I am asking you, the faithful readers of my blog, those of you who have stuck with me during my very boring phase, to tell me what you want to hear about.
Do you want me to keep it comical? My real life, boring or not? My serious side, the dark things that have happened and how that changed me? (I really have no way to put humor on those things) The saga of the teens who would not do their chores and the stupidity of them arguing the same thing every week like they had never heard me say it before? Politics? (please, no, I don't know much about politics, lol)

The reviews stay, they are paying for Christmas over here, lol. But I am open for lots of suggestions.
I think I will put up a poll.

Starting Monday is the Fall Bloggy Giveaways! So, gear up for fun, reviews, and GIVEAWAYS! (last time there were over 900 giveaways!)

Donnie ordered me to get the house in order before Monday. But why? That is what I have kids for. HAHAHAHAHAHAhahahaha Sorry, I lost it for a minute there. They don't clean unless they want something or I have hounded them enough that they want me off their back. Or the argument that I only yell at them for not doing their chores is because I want 100% of their attention me all the time doesn't work on me. (Some days I wonder how I made it through being a teenager, why didn't my parents kill me?)

October 24, 2008

So much for the energy!

I am just wiped out today! After all of yesterday's work all I've been up to doing today is some laundry. (which is an endless mound)

I have to muster up some energy for Karaoke tonight some how. Where can I find it? In a can of Dt. Dr. Pepper, maybe??

Or a quick nap?

Naw, I don't nap. But if there were a day for it, it would be today.

Sam is being a qtpie today. I have some cute pics of him, but no computer cord to download them, lol. After breakfast today he climbed up on the table and got into a box of review items. He found himself a treasure! It was really cute seeing him hug the teddy bear with an adorable look of love, but he had just eaten Cocoa Puffs, so he left a chocolate smudge on the shirt of the bear. Well, now we know what he is getting for his birthday! LOL

Sam's 2nd birthday is coming up in just a few days. I can hardly believe it! Where did my baby go?
After moving my bed yesterday, I found an old pacifier of Sam's that was behind the bed. Sam played baby for me, sucking the paci and letting my cradle him in my arms. It was so cute! He soon grew tired of that and stopped to go watch the Justice League. I have never seen a kid so hooked on a show for so long. He just loves it. It calms him right down if he is having one of his bad nights. He will stop screaming as soon as we turn it on.

Speaking of bad nights......... Last night Sam slept the ENTIRE night! Not only did he sleep the entire night, he did it in his new room without ME! That just doesn't happen. I hope it is a new beginning for Sam. I feel so bad for him waking up every night crying. It has been a very, very long year of that. I pray his 3rd year of life is much easier at night. (and maybe if he starts sleeping in his own room, and through the night, he just might end up a big brother)

It is after 6pm and not one of the kids has started their chores, so I need to go find my cattle prod to get them moving.

October 23, 2008

Whew!

I FINALLY got the bedrooms arranged! That turned out to be good and bad.

I am thrilled to have my room rearranged, however, it is the LAST time we'll be able to move the bed. It is an old, old water bed frame that has been moved 2 too many times. We have a special made mattress for it, so no more water. And that is good, because I am pretty sure it wouldn't hold water now, lol. The frame is falling apart. I'm a little concerned that the headboard is going to fall on our heads tonight. Donnie is going to get a bunch of brackets and try to secure the whole thing, but we surely won't move it again until we are prepared to replace it.

But I now have lots of extra room in my room! Not sure how the position of the bed makes more room, but it does.

Tomorrow I can now go get curtain rods and get curtains up in the little kids' room and be done in there. Then I can work on the craft room. Or pass out.

I need a shower. And a nap.

My day off???

I took the day off of work today to take care of Cody, who is sick. But that doesn't mean I have the day off. I am determined to get the house in shape again. I finally have the wardrobe out of the kids' room and Sam's dresser in. My room is not quite ready to move the bed or get the wardrobe in yet, but that is the goal.
I have a couple of boxes of my mom's stuff packed up for her. She didn't take everything with her because she doesn't have her own place to put them yet.
I hope to have my room moved around by tonight and the craft room at least partially set up by the end of the weekend.

I finally, after 3 years, found the foot pedal to my sewing machine! I know it doesn't work right after years and years of no use, so it needs a good cleaning service. I am completely baffled at how I was unable to find it, it was in a very easy to find location, and I know I have searched my closet many times for it.

I better go drink another can of caffeine and get busy again.

October 22, 2008

Fireproof!

Donnie and I went to see Fireproof on Tuesday night. It really is a good movie! AT first it seemed like it was going to be lame, like so many Christian movies seem to be, but I LOVED IT! I laughed and cried through most of the movie. And at the end, even Donnie had to wipe his eyes. It is very moving. The action scenes are crazy good!

We had our own action on the way to the theater. Get your mind out of the gutters! We were driving done the freeway in our little Geo Metro when a big SUV decided to pull onto the freeway and cross all they way across to our lane, while we were in it. If Donnie hadn't been driving and had great reflexes, we'd probably be dead. Donnie says I don't know that we'd be dead, we may have only been badly maimed.

I wish I could find my camera. I had it set out to upload pics last night, but the kids saw Sam playing with it and let him. Now it is missing. Hopefully not in the trash. I have a super cool Wordless Wednesday pic on there.
I want to take some pictures of the little kids' room. Donnie finished the two green stripes on the wall, and they are so cute! And we put up a queen size bed for them, so we can lay with them without hanging half off the bed. The bedroom is shaping up and looking good. We have to take the wardrobe out of the room (when I can get it in my room) and put Sam's dresser in there. I may switch out their little bookshelf for a full size bookshelf, but not sure about that yet. Curtains, a couple of wall hangings, and we are done.
Then I can start on my craft room! OK, maybe I need to get my room worked on so I can fit the wardrobe in my room first. I need to move my bed to a different wall, so it isn't going to be easy or fun. (King size water bed frame)
THEN my craft room.

Huggies turns 30!

Many of today's moms were the first generation of Huggies wearing babes. I am a bit too old, but I used Huggies for most of my children. They were my absolute favorite disposable diaper. If I wasn't using Huggies, I was using cloth.

In the last 30 years Huggies has gone from diapering our babies to pampering them with bath products. I love their lavender scented products, mmm.

To celebrate those 30 years, Huggies is having a big contest, and Mom Central has teamed up with them to get the word out. Thirty moms will be featured in a national ad campaign and one winner will win $30,000!

You can enter by going to a Generation Huggies event and make a video about what being a mom means to you, or upload a video on Generation Huggies.com. The videos need to be no more than 60 seconds in length.


You can enter to win the $30k once every day after becoming a member of Generation Huggies. I'll be there every day!

About Generation Huggies:
Now through November 20, 2008, there are two ways for moms to create a video reflecting on "What Motherhood Means to Me."
1. Videos can be uploaded to www.GenerationHuggies.com
2. Alternatively, moms can create a video on-site when they visit a local Generation Huggies event.
3. Videos should be no longer than 60 seconds in length and no larger than 5MB.
4. Everyone can participate by giving a hug, or vote, to their favorite video through November 30, 2008.
5. Judging ends November 30, 2008.

About Generation Huggies Sweepstakes
Anyone can enter the Generation Huggies Sweepstakes for a chance to win $30,000.
1. From now until Nov. 30, 2008, enter online by visiting www.GenerationHuggies.com.
2. The grand prize winner will receive $30,000 and will be chosen in December 2008.

October 21, 2008

Gotta love teens!

Yesterday a friend of Drew's stopped by. He is on leave after his basic training. We asked him how it all went.
He said the worst part of basic was that they don't give you enough time to, ahem, go #2. He must has spent 10 minutes telling us about #2 problems in basic, lol. Trying to run 3 miles while having to go, and nearly going in his pants. Standing in line for a drug urine test and asked to go, so the instructor started at the end of the line so he was near the end to get to go at all, lol. A guy in his group DID go in his pants on the run and had to sit half squatted and hold out his underpants straight in front of him for who knows how long! Poor guy!
Actually, Joey looks great and enjoyed basic a lot.

I hope Drew has some non-poop stories for us when he comes home, lol. (we found out he graduates November 20!)

October 19, 2008

Books for kids

I was recently sent two books written by award-winning and bestselling author Robie H. Harris. Both of these books address issues that parents need to address with their children at some point.

In Mail Harry to the Moon, illustrated by Michael Emberley, a humorous take on sibling rivalry between a young boy and his new baby brother takes us on an adventure.
The older brother, who is nameless in the narrative book, was not prepared for all the fun that comes along with a baby brother. The sharing, the spit up, the screaming, and the grandma snatcher. He soon realizes that baby Harry needs him, and it ends very sweetly.

I am very thankful that my children really weren't jealous of their baby siblings, but if there were problems, I would love to have had this book to help them deal with it.







The Day Leo Said I Hate You, illustrated by Molly Bang, is a caring book about what it feels like to say—and hear—those other three words.

I think a parent is doing a good job if there kids are hating them, lol. OK, not really, but I know that hearing it goes with the territory. However, it does bother many parents.

This book addresses Leo getting fed up with his mom telling him no over and over and over. (yes, one of THOSE days!) Soon he is so fed up that he starts smart mouthing and tells his mother that he hates her.

The topic is addressed very well. The mom is NOT happy with his actions, and doesn't ever say it is OK to do what he did or to hurt people's feelings. The author illustrates the point that it is OK to hate things, like broccoli, but saying that to people is not nice and can hurt them.

Watch my blog for some giveaways later this year, you may see these books again...

October 18, 2008

Clorox helps me again!

I have been just loving the Clorox GreenWorks and how they made my dear, sweet Hope-Anne able to help wash dishes! (she is allergic to most dish soaps)
Now they are saving me from allergy meds. I am allergic to dust mites, and lets face it, they are not an easy allergen to get rid of.
I have almost no carpeting in my house, but I still have curtains and cushioned furniture, so I am bound to have dust mites. I don't live in a vacuum sealed bubble.
I do appreciate my allergy meds making me feel better, but really they are just masking the symptoms, not eliminating the allergy.
Clorox Anywhere Anti-Allergen Fabric Spray does that for me. It neutralizes up to 90% of allergens, including dust mites and cat and dog dander by changing the structure of the allergen protein. It is gentle enough to use around kids and pets, is fragrance-free, dye-free, and safe on virtually all fabrics.



I am so happy to be able to not use as much allergy medications, between the cost and putting medicines in my body, I wasn't thrilled with having to take them often. Now I will only need to take them during seasons my other allergy problems are a problem.

Thank you to Clorox and Mom Central for another great must-have product!

Super water fun!

It can be hard in the winter to have fun with water, unlike the summer months when you can be outside with it. But now there are a few great ways to have fun inside with water without the huge mess!
Thanks to Team Mom, we had the chance to try a couple of new Spin Master toys that are going to be on holiday lists this year.
I am really looking at buying several Aquadoodle Draw ‘N Doodle mats for presents for our family.
I opened the box and was swarmed by the kids! Even the older kids wanted a piece of the action here! I think this was the biggest hit we've ever had with a review product.
The mat is really big and well made. It has directions on simple drawing techniques all around the edges for the creatively challenged. (me)
But the best part is that in order to draw you just fill the little pen with water and start writing! After it dries it is a blank slate again! The only downside is that you can't just wipe it off to dry it, so it takes a little bit if you have over-enthusiastic artists. I am definitely looking into the travel size for our kids for long trips. They were occupied for days and days playing with it.

Our next product to try out is the KidKleen Bath Blizzard which hooks onto the tub spout and creates endless cascades of foamy bubbles. This is a fun one, too! Once you turn it on the bubbles just keep coming! Sam loved it!
I think it will even be fun for us adults with some yummy scented bubble bath........ relaxing!
The Bath Blizzard really did work well, I was pretty amazed, because most bubble contraptions do not work that well. We only had trouble with the strap staying on the box, so it didn't want to hang well. The kids didn't care, they just loved the millions of bubbles that kept on coming.
Now I have a great bribe/threat to get them washed up. They can't have the bubbles until after their hair is washed.
If you buy the Bath Blizzard as a gift, pick up a pack of C batteries, because kids do not want to wait for you to go buy them, lol. (ask me how I know)

I had some great pictures of my children playing with these products, but my computer crashed on Thursday, so I am unable to access anything until my computer fixer hubby gets home from his hunting trip on Monday.

Two birds with one stone?

My dog is pretty smart. He knows how to communicate with us, anyway. When he is thirsty, he brings us his bowl.
He has been whining for a few days now, and we just don't know what his problem is. He tries to get into small places and hides in them. Like the laundry chute......
Today we found him in the bathtub digging at the drain. He wanted a bath. He has been scratching at his nose and is it all raw. He doesn't have fleas. Poor dog!

After his bath, which got him clean, he started mopping the floor. I told Donnie I wanted a little "mop dog." When he is wet he rubs his fur all over the floors and cleans them up for me!
So, one bath gets the dog clean and the floors clean!

Saturday's are for sleeping in

But apparently not for me, lol.
You know, I sit at a desk all day for work, it isn't hard. I sit there and enter invoices and receipts into the computer. No lifting or walking or being on my feet. Cushy, huh?
Why does it exhaust me so much? LOL I know it won't always be this bad, and probably won't be long days, either, once I am caught up. But for now, I am still doing things from August. There are even a few stacks of things with dates on them from March and April! It is mentally exhausting! Quickbooks says they are over $200k in the hole, but they are not. I just don't have the deposits to enter. I have the amounts, but can't do it because they have to be applied to jobs we've billed for, and I don't know who they are from, lol. Hopefully I will be caught up next week.

When I was at work yesterday, Hope-Anne called and asked about going to a skating party, but she hadn't done her chores yet. I asked what she had done and she said that she had cleaned the litter box and the neighbor (adult) was doing the dishes. Um, yeah, I freaked out! What the heck? I got her on the phone and told her to stop doing my dishes, I have the chores doled out for the kids to get done before I get home. I told her the girls couldn't go because the chores weren't done in time. She agreed, she raises her kids like that. So I get off the phone, she stays and keeps cleaning with Hope-Anne. Then Hope-Anne calls to get to go with them when the chores were done.
How would you handle that? I don't want her, or especially her kids, in my house when I am not there, and I most certainly do not want her in my house cleaning when I am gone! (I could not find my coffee this morning after her cleaning) I know she was trying to be nice, she is extremely nice and a huge servant personality. I don't need the help, though. And I really don't like feeling violated by someone I barely know being in my house while I am not there.
What do I say without causing hurt with a neighbor?

October 16, 2008

How many screw ups can I make in one day?

Whew! I'm exhausted from messing up at work! OK, so I didn't mess up that many times, but I don't know how to fix a few mistakes. I don't have the energy to deal with it today, though. Tomorrow I'll learn to fix them.

I had a weird night of dreams, makes me think I'm having a guilt complex for neglecting my kids. Very weird dreams. So I didn't get a ton of sleep.
I went to check emails this morning. No computer. The last one in the house bit the dust over night. There is nothing there, it wants me to put in boot discs! Not happy! Donnie is gone hunting, so I don't have his laptop, either. I am borrowing my mother in law's laptop so I don't go spastic.
Then I was going to leave and found out I didn't have a key to the car Donnie left me. Where did it go? Oh no! I had give it to Devon and not gotten it back! But thankfully he knew where it was, that was amazing.
I tried to take Donnie's bow out of the hatch back and the door fell on my head and cracked my headband in half.
Then I called my mom on my way to work. One of her tires fell OFF her Jeep! I am so thankful that no one was hurt, but it is going to cost a pretty penny AND a day of travel.
Then at work I can't spell, and I keep screwing up with the check book and don't know how to fix it. My boss is great with Quickbooks, but I don't want to hunt him down for help. Tomorrow is another day.............
I think I'm going to call it quits and head home soon. (So glad my work is flexible!)

Thursday Thirteen Fall Classes

13 Summer Classes for Men at
THE ADULT LEARNING CENTER
REGISTRATION MUST BE COMPLETED by Friday, August 15th 2008
NOTE: DUE TO THE COMPLEXITY AND DIFFICULTY LEVEL OF THEIR CONTENTS, CLASS SIZES WILL BE LIMITED TO 8 PARTICIPANTS MAXIMUM

Class 1: How To Fill Up The Ice Cube Trays--Step by Step, with Slide Presentation. Meets 4 weeks, Monday and Wednesday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.

Class 2: The Toilet Paper Roll--Does It Change Itself? Round Table Discussion. Meets 2 weeks, Saturday 12:00 for 2 hours.

Class 3: Is It Possible To Urinate Using The Technique Of Lifting The Seat and Avoiding The Floor, Walls and Nearby Bathtub?--Group Practice. Meets 4 weeks, Saturday 10:00 PM for 2 hours.

Class 4: Fundamental Differences Between The Laundry Hamper and The Floor--Pictures and Explanatory Graphics. Meets Saturdays at 2:00 PM for 3 weeks.


Class 5: Dinner Dishes--Can They Levitate and Fly Into The Kitchen Sink? Examples on Video. Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM

Class 6: Loss Of Identity--Losing The Remote To Your Significant Other. Help Line Support and Support Groups. Meets 4 Weeks, Friday and Sunday 7:00 PM


Class 7: Learning How To Find Things--Starting With Looking In The Right Places And Not Turning The House Upside Down While Screaming. Open Forum Monday at 8:00 PM, 2 hours.


Class 8: Health Watch--Bringing Her Flowers Is Not Harmful To Your Health. Graphics and Audio Tapes. Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.

Class 9: Real Men Ask For Directions When Lost--Real Life Testimonials. Tuesdays at 6:00 PM Location to be determined

Class 10: Is It Genetically Impossible To Sit Quietly While She Parallel Parks? Driving Simulations. 4 weeks, Saturday's noon, 2 hours.

Class 11: Learning to Live--Basic Differences Between Mother and Wife. Online Classes and role-playing Tuesdays at 7:00 PM, location to be determined


Class 12: How to be the Ideal Shopping Companion Relaxation Exercises, Meditation and Breathing Techniques.Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.

Class 13: How to Fight Cerebral Atrophy--Remembering Birthdays, Anniversaries and Other Important Dates and Calling When You're Going To Be Late. Cerebral Shock Therapy Sessions and Full Lobotomies Offered. Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.


Upon completion of any of the above courses, diplomas will be issued to the survivors.

My boys do not need Class 3, on urinating. I told my husband to make the sprinkles on the seat STOP. He told the boys if he heard one more complaint from the girls that he was going to stand there and watch them pee until he found the culprit. Not another drop!

October 15, 2008

Oh, Sam!


Sam, you make my life so much brighter. It never fails, when I am not happy about something, you will come through with a cute grin or funny saying and make me happy.
It makes my heart sing when you say "pees, pees, pees" and then clap your hands demanding the prize that is rightfully yours for saying "please." I just melt inside when you are crying and clap your hands at me to pick you up.
You tear through my house like an F5 tornado daily, and then you flash your pearly whites at me and it is all worth it.
Like last night.
We were snuggled down in bed for the night. There was a bit of light in the room this night while your grandma was packing up for a trip so we could see each other pretty well. Truth be told, neither of us were all that ready to fall asleep.
I told you I was going to sleep and you put your hand on my chest and shook me saying "waayy up!" (wake up) It really surprised me and made me laugh!
Then you pretended to go to sleep and started fake snoring! So cute! I shook you and told you to "Wake up!" You quickly popped both your eyes and mouth open with a huge open grin!
This started our new game. We even woke Daddy up to watch.
Our hearts just melted for you again.


Wordless Wednesday Smoooooch!

Anyone recognize these bears?

October 14, 2008

What?

I have had the most aggravating day today, while having the most wonderful things happen. Does that make any sense at all?

I am super aggravated with some ministry issues that only seem to be an issue to my ministry team, so I've been venting to my mom and Donnie for two days, lol.
I am really aggravated that my mother in law goes so far out of her way to babysit for her daughter's kids for free, and yet she has to bus the 1 1/2 hour drive to get there, on her own dime, while her daughter is HOME, not coming to get her. Donnie drives her to and from the cities every week to babysit, and she has to bus from Donnie's work. Just aggravates me!
I am aggravated that 3 of my kids claim to have been babysitting the little two after school, while only 1 did the work. "Nope, I didn't pick them up from grandma's, or change the poopy diaper, or put Sam to sleep, or take Trinity out to play, but it was me that was watching them."
I'm aggravated with Devon because I told him to go run a errand with very specific instructions, and he didn't get it done because he was "distracted" which is also his excuse for only cooking a part of supper and not telling anyone that it was done.
I'm aggravated that Cody won't turn in his school work, and then was mean to Hope-Anne when she was trying to practice her clarinet, even pinched her nose shut to keep her from playing.

I could go on. Really. But I'll stop there.

What happened that was so great?

Well, I brought my mother in law to a nearby town for a diabetes class. I was going to withdraw some money and take Sam to a cafe for breakfast. After two stops to find an ATM in hickville I realized that the account that actually has money in it is the card that I don't know the PIN to. So I decided to walk around town with Sam. We came across the optometrist that I bought my glasses from, so I went in on the off chance (complete miracle) that they could fix the break in my frame. They couldn't. But it turns out that it has been less than a year and the frames are under warranty! I had NO idea! So next week I get my new frames!

After lunch my mil watched the kids for me while I went to my first day of work at a job I wasn't even looking for. Seriously. I am taking over my mom's temp job. They don't want a full time book person, and I do not want a full time job. We are both extremely flexible, it is amazing!
So, I go in, having no idea what the name of the company even is, or who my boss is. Nothing. (except that they are about 8 months behind in their book keeping, yikes!) I'm already hired, but we've never spoken. No resumes have passed hands. I'm not sure he even knew my name, lol.
Boss "So, you were looking for something part time?"
Me "I wasn't exactly looking for work, mostly because I didn't even imagine that I could find this job so part time. But I really only want to work 1-2 days a week."
Boss "Perfect!"
I told him a little about my past job, even though he didn't ask.
Boss "What do you want to get paid?"
Me "Between Blank and Blank, I am looking for Blank, though."
Boss "Great."

Seriously, that was my interview! Although I was already hired. He has no idea where I've worked, lol. They are so laid back and wonderful. I am going to love it. It allows me to put the kids first, and still put in the time. Plus, first two hours into my day I saved them 2 steps in entering information in Quickbooks.

OH, and enough random things happened that my mom can't leave as early tomorrow as she wanted to, so that is good for me! Even if it is only a couple of hours.
Monday I wasn't looking for a job. Tuesday I have a job. I'm not even sure how it happened.

October 13, 2008

So bummed

The weekend came and went with no phone call from Drew. His recruiter told us that he'd be able to call with his address the first weekend. Drew better not have spent his phone call on some girl and not his mom. I wouldn't be able to forgive him for a long time! LOL

My mom is moving so fast. Less than a week's notice. It is hard to see her go. I want her to be happy, but I want her here. Arizona is better weather for her arthritis, of course, and she does have lots of friends and family there. She lived there for 20 years. But her grandkids aren't there. Trinity will only let Grandma brush her hair. Sam is only beginning to let other people read to him, he would only let Grandma do it for the longest time. She gave him the love for books.
The older kids are mad at us again because now they are sharing bedrooms and Grandma is leaving. So now Devon thinks that I won't need a craft room and Cody should be out of his room. But I'm not going to let that happen. And Kaytlin and Devon had such horrible fits about getting their own space that I have no intentions of letting them be rewarded with their own rooms.
We hope Mom's job doesn't work out and she moves back, but not really, because I want her to have a great job and be without pain. But I want that to be here, lol. See how selfish I am?

So, now that we are about all settled in the bedrooms we get to move things again. LOL Sound fun?

Mom is temping at a company here in MN through tomorrow. They want to hire me to take her place once or twice a week to keep things going for them. I'm torn. I don't want to leave my kids with a sitter, but I could use the money. And part time is way better for me to handle. What would I do for a sitter? Plus I need to get my car fixed before I could do a drive like that. (the car isn't too expensive of a fix.)

Lots of changes here. Maybe I don't like change.

October 11, 2008

Recovered from LNO

It was a busy day Friday. Kaytlin had her first and only Powderpuff Football game. Seniors against the juniors.
Kaytlin is second from the right with the pony tail.
The Seniors scored pretty quickly and all was going well. The juniors weren't scoring.


If you look closely you will not be able to see the flags on the orange team. The juniors tucked their flags up short so the seniors couldn't grab them, therefor they couldn't be stopped. And soon the juniors scored. The seniors did not whine or insist on fairness, like I would have.




I thought it was great that the boys were the cheerleaders! This guy was all gung-ho for the seniors. The really dressed up and threw themselves into the spirit of the game, and they even were great at motivating the girls. According to Kaytlin, anyway. Because us moms didn't hear the guys cheering, just the other girls on the sidelines.


Then back home for a quick supper so we could head to ladies night out. Which turned out to be our longest ever, I believe. We didn't leave before 2:30am.

My new neighbor came with us, so we had a newbie there. We played Quelf, of course, and we all had a great time. And we learned something new.
We've been taking the penalty for a card that tells us to drink from the opposite side of the cup, because we all thought it couldn't be done and we'd just get soaked.
Well, my neighbor taught us how to do it. This is a pic of my mom drinking her glass of water from the other side of the cup, lol.


Mom got a job offer in Arizona, much to my dismay, so this was probably her last LNO.

Now for the fun of keeping the kids in their shared rooms. Devon is already throwing a fit to get Cody out. It is going to be another WW3 over here, just when it died down from making them share a room.

October 10, 2008

For Young Men Only~ A book review

I am a big fan of the Only series of books by Shaunti Feldham. She has written and co-written the books, For Men Only, For Women Only and For Parents Only (a MUST-read).
She helped her husband, Jeff Feldham, and Eric Rice write the newest Only book, For Young Men Only. You guessed it, for the teenage men in our lives!

"Just for guys.... the inside scoop on girls from the girls themselves."
I had high hopes my sons would be interested in the book. I read through parts of the book with a group of boys from 13 to 20 years old, all Christians. The 13yo was too embarrassed to admit interest but stayed, the 15 yo wants to read it further, the 19yo listened and agreed with the book, and the 20yo just didn't think men actually thought like that. Only 1 in 4 didn't find it was applicable.
The book was really interesting to me. I liked the subjects it touched on, especially helping guys figure out girls' moods and what to do about it. I am always trying to get my boys to be sensitive to that so their wives can stand them. I was a little disappointed in the amount of sex talk, however, it was always with the goal that girls will be more appreciative of them if they protect the relationship from going to far. The negative aspects of a relationship after having sex are talked about, too.
I do think this is a great book for teen boys, especially if you hit them between 14 and 16 years of age. I thought it brought about wonderful communication opportunities for us as a family.

Summary:
The best-selling ONLY series returns with a one-of-a-kind guide for teen guys on how to figure out girls

Drawing on a fresh national survey of 600 teen girls, as well as hundreds of personal interviews, For Young Men Only reveals the real truth about what teenage girls think, what they want, and how average teen guys can build healthy friendships with high quality girls. Full of surprising revelations and practical advice, For Young Men Only delivers help straight from the girls themselves in a fun, easy-to-read, easy-to-talk about format.

Warm, witty, and honest, authors Jeff Feldhahn and Eric Rice tell plenty of personal stories and draw on solid biblical principles to guide young guys through the often daunting world of the opposite sex. Their goal is to help teen guys build self-confidence and understanding, and show them how to pursue a relationship with a girl while giving her the respect and protection she deserves.
Author Bio:
Jeff Feldhahn is an attorney and the owner of the tech company, World2One. With his wife, Shaunti, he wrote the best selling FOR MEN ONLY.

Eric Rice is the owner/director/producer of 44 Films. Eric lives in Atlanta area with his wife, Lisa, and their four teenage children.

Shaunti Feldhahn is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, public speaker, and best-selling author whose books include FOR WOMEN ONLY, FOR YOUNG WOMEN ONLY (with Lisa Rice) and FOR PARENTS ONLY.

For Young Men Only is available at Amazon, Christian Book.com, and Family Christian.

October 09, 2008

It is Homecoming week

That means my kids have been dressing crazy all week. They have dressed in formal clothes, 60's clothes, Sports clothes, career clothes, mismatched clothes, and salad dressing themes. (as in Thousand Island dressing was Hawaiian clothes and Western Dressing was cowboy clothes)
Tomorrow is Tiger Pride day, so they'll be in school colors. Black finger nails. Orange hair. Black and orange clothes and tattoos.

This year Kaytlin is doing Powder Puff football on homecoming. They are only playing one game, and it is against the junior girls in the school. She is begging me to beg all my friends to come and cheer her on. I do have a couple of friends coming with their kids. It's at the high school at 3:30 for any local readers who want to come out and cheer on the kids. I guess they got the guys to do the cheerleading. Should be fun!
It will at least make for some great pics as the girls' uniforms are argyle socks.

Thursday Thirteen Green Edition

Thirteen ways I am living more green in my life. I am concerned about the health of my family. We have some allergies to cleaners, so I want to make a cleaner, greener home for them.
1. I am a Community Activator for Green Works 30 Days to Natural.
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2. I am switching to Green Works cleaners. Especially the dishsoap. I still buy Dawn, it works best for stripping cloth diapers, but one of my children is allergic to Dawn and can't wash dishes unless she uses Green Works.
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3. I hosted a Better Homes and Gardens going green House Party. We got together and discussed ways to clean with more natural products.
It was actually pretty fun, even though the grandmas will not give up their bleach to clean with, lol.
4. I use cloth diapers. It saves water, trees, and the landfills. Plus it saves my kiddo's bum from his disposable diaper allergy.
5. I have been trying Soap Nuts for my laundry instead of soaps. I am not sure I am ready to switch to them yet. They do clean perfectly, but they don't have a "clean" scent, so I feel less satisfied about washing them. Check them out at Laundry Tree.
6. I went to 30 Days to Natural and planted a daisy, you can too! Please do so for me, it is easy.
7. I am watching the video diaries on 30 Days to Natural to see how those women do being green for 30 days.
8. I am getting green tips via email to see what else I can do.
9. Green Works has a facebook page, I faved them and am watching for more great tips.
10. I switched to Green Works all purpose cleaner and I love it! You can use cold water to wash your floors and they get just as clean.
11. I do recycle a lot, though I am not terribly strict about it. No compost pile, either.
12. I have switched to cloth pads instead of disposable pads and tampons. That was an amazing switch, and reduced my cycle to only THREE DAYS!!! And much, much less PMS. Well worth it!
13. I am telling others about more natural ways to clean their homes and about using cloth diapers and pads to help spread the word about how easy it is to be more "green."
What do you do to make a safer environment for your family?

October 08, 2008

Wordless Wednesday Drew's Good-bye

This is Drew's last time seeing the "big kids" before he left for basic training Monday morning. (he should be going through in-processing and whatever else today!) The little two kids were sleeping, still, so not in this pic.

October 07, 2008

Day 2 of having an adult child

Things are going well. Drew has called a few times and seems a bit nervous. But that is to be expected, though he won't admit it.
It actually makes me a bit sad to think about what he is going through, more so that us having him gone.
When Drew hugged me good-bye he was shaking a bit, more like a quiver than shaking. When he turned around and got in that car he stopped being under the umbrella of protection of his parents and became his own umbrella. The buck now falls on his shoulders. If he messes up, he is accountable to God directly rather than to us and us being accountable to God. I am sure that is a bit terrifying to anyone! I never really went through that. I was married before I graduated high school, so I went from my dad to my husband.


Here are some pics from the last week.
This is Sam and his cousin, Austin. They are 6 weeks apart in age. I love that the boys are accidentally doing the same thing. Yes, that is Sam, picking his nose.
And Austin picking his nose.
Here are some apple picking pictures. Sam cried and cried and cried, something hurt his eyes at the McD's playland that day.
This is a pic of our neighbors and my kids and Cindy's kids picking apples at Cindy's.

Here is Donnie blowing out the candles on his birthday apple pie. He loved the pie! Here is a sweet picture of our kitten. Her paws were folded under her so cutely that I had to get a picture.

Picture This!

Picture this........
You are mailing out your Christmas cards to all your friends, relatives and long lost acquaintances. There are so many people to write to, so many pictures to sent out and updates to make. How do you make your card stand out as special?
(yes, that is important!)
Imagine if you had a very special stamp on your card. One no one else has or could even get.
I am excited to be able to put our new family photo on our stamps for Christmas cards! Thanks to Family Review Network and PictureItPostage I was able to get some stamps to review.
It was incredibly fast and easy to order them. I went to the site and clicked on "Try It." I quickly and easily uploaded a photo from my files. I was then able to center the photo, zoom in and out, move it around to get just the right position. Then you can change the color and font on the side of the stamp so it matches your photo if you want to.
Check out was incredibly easy, also. In all, it took 5 minutes to get my stamps made and ordered. It takes 7-10 days to get your stamps delivered to your door, which is really pretty quick, in my opinion.
Wouldn't personalized stamps make a great gift for a graduate? Stamps are a great gift for them to either send out thank yous or even to have when they are in college to send letters to friends and families. They certainly won't have a lot of extra money for stamps.
I think it would also be fun to send out birth announcements with the baby's picture on the stamp! Or birthday invitations! Engagement announcements, etc. So many wonderful options!

PictureItPostage is having a "Get Real" contest for the best of the worst photos. It starts October 31, so you have time to find a horrible picture to submit. You could win one of two cameras or sets of stamps.

Is Sunscreen weather over?

I have to admit that I am not very good at remembering sunscreen. I really need to get better about it, especially for Donnie who has skin cancer in his family and he has been burned badly on most of his upper body.
But winter is quickly making a come-back, do I really need to keep thinking about it now?
Winter is actually a time of strong sun rays because the sun not only hits your skin, but also reflects off the snow and hits you again.

People with great memories like mine can still get their sunscreen in through showering.
Bethesda Skincare has a natural soap with nourishing multi-vitamins and an spf 10 sunscreen right in the bar, Bethesda Sunscreen Soap. Our pores are open and able to receive the vitamins and sunscreen when we are in the shower, so it is the perfect place to get it done!
Bethesda Skincare was developed through a family going through skin cancer and illnesses that wouldn't tolerate traditional soaps. Bethesda says this about it's soap: "Bethesda Sunscreen Soap contains a combination of healing and therapeutic properties that moisturizes as it protects the body from the harmful rays of the sun. The soap leaves behind an unnoticeable protective layer that provides daily sun protection."

I have used the soap and Samuel, who has skin sensitivities, and he had no reactions to it at all, as it is hypo-allergenic. I liked that it didn't have an overwhelming scent and didn't smell "therapeutic." There was no crying when I soaped him up and no rash after the bath. I like the nourishment it gives our skin. It will be needed as winter sets in here and all moisture is frozen out of the air. It is recommended that you air dry after using it, not very practical for all over use, but for hands and face it would be OK.

The Bethesda Skincare company has a wonderful policy called The Melanie Policy. I think it is a wonderful idea.
the melanie policy
In honor of Melanie, Jamie's sister who is fighting stage 4 colon and liver cancer, we are giving away a free bar of soap to anyone who is suffering with cancer or knows of someone who has cancer. Please send the name, address and the recipient's condition to store@bethesdaskincare.com, and be sure to reference The Melanie Policy. Because chemotherapy and cancer treatment depletes the skin of it's nutrients and causes it to become fragile, Bethesda Sunscreen Soap was created with a combination of healing and therapeutic properties to strengthen, restore and protect the skin.

Two of my aunts have been through breast cancer, one of them has had it twice. It would have been so nice to have been able to send them something that would have given them a piece of luxury during their difficult chemo treatments.

Right now the soap is the only product available, but the coming products sound wonderful and luxurious. I would love to try their Mineral Veil soap in the future. I bet someone would love to try their wake up soap that contains organic coffee grounds!
Thank you Family Review Network for the great review opportunity!

October 06, 2008

One down, 6 to go

Drew got off with his recruiter just fine this morning. And I did fine, too. Very few tears. I did my grieving when I found out what he was going to do, it made it real to me then.

This is the day we've been working toward for 19 years. The day of letting go. We raise them to fly on their own and to fly well. I am confident that he will fly well because I know Who supports his wings.

Pastor Chad came this morning and joined us in praying for Drew and watched us leave. That was nice, and I know that Drew felt loved by it.

I'd like to link to Drew's commission service when the church website gets updated. It was really nice, and Pastor Chad is quite funny, lol. He tells of his first memory of Drew. A 12 year old Drew sitting up in the front of the bus telling Pastor Chad about a video game. For 40 minutes. The longest 40 minutes of his life. That was Drew, lol. Now it is Cody.

Drew just called and he is safely in Fargo with a room mate waiting for their flight tomorrow. I think he is a bit homesick already, or a bit apprehensive about the future. But he is going to be great and soon will be too busy to think. Or too tired and hungry to think. Either way.

Cole Family Christmas

Who doesn't love a family story? I loved curling up next to my dad and my brothers and listening to him tell stories of his childhood. (I don't pass them on to my kids, because I'm pretty sure that he didn't really know Daniel Boone or Davey Crocket, lol)
Cole Family Christmas is a book of a wonderful family story that has been passed on for generations. The book is co-written by Jennifer Liu Bryan and Hazel Cole Kendle, a grandmother/granddaughter team.

I enjoyed reading the book and can't wait to pass it on to family members to read. I plan to use it as a family night activity as Christmas approaches.
The story is about an Appalachian family during one Christmas season. The children are excited to be able to write to Santa one item they most wished for from The Wish Book. (Sears catalog) The father is a miner, and there is a time when they think he may not be coming home. There is a storm, which stops the trains from moving, and the father from getting home. Some wonderful things happen, which will bless your heart and teach a moral lesson to everyone.

Thanks to Family Review Network for the wonderful book to review! I also have a second book to give away. Keep reading my blog for the giveaway closer to the Holiday season! I plan to be doing a few fun giveaways just in time for the holidays!
Cole Family Christmas would make a wonderful gift for teachers and families.

Then She Found Me


Family Review Network sent me a movie to review. Then She Found Me is a movie directed by Helen Hunt based on a book by Elinor Lipman. Starring Helen Hunt, Matthew Broderick, Collin Furth, and Bette Midler. With an all-star cast such as this, I fully expected a riveting and funny movie. I was greatly disappointed.
Helen Hunt plays April, a 39 year adopted woman who wants nothing more than to become a mother. Broderick plays April's husband, Ben, for all of 2 minutes in the film. He is immature and a mama's boy. Furth plays April's new love interest, a divorced father of 2, who is truly messed up. Bette Midler plays April's birth mother, who is not only eccentric, but also more than a little bit of a lier.
April's life is one messed up scene after another. She gets married, tries for a baby, and her husband ups and leaves. She finds a messed up guy, her adoptive mother dies, and her birth mother shows up. It only gets messier from there.
The movie is billed as a romantic comedy. It is neither romantic, nor funny. That disappointed me a great deal.
However, there was some great acting. Bette Midler pulled off her overly eccentric character quite well. If you are a Bette Midler fan, you'll want to see this movie. If Hunt was going for making us not like her character, she pulled it off. I can't even bring myself to speak of Broderick's character, it was awful. (though not the acting, just the character, a big change for him!) Furth was fantastic and sexy (love his accent!). His character is so incredibly messed up, and he made it adorable.
The story line was solid, but there wasn't enough going on to bring you to love the characters enough to care. I didn't cry at all, and normally I would in many of the situations in the movie.
I would say it is an OK movie, not a great movie. You can see the trailer HERE.

DVD BONUS FEATURES:
Director’s Commentary with Helen Hunt
Cast Interviews and Behind-the-Scenes Footage
Theatrical Trailer
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Enhanced for 16x9 Widescreen TVs
Spanish Subtitles
Closed Captioned

Today's the day

Drew leaves today. We have to drop him off at his recruiter this morning. I'll be online later today doing some reviews and maybe posting more in-depth on some things that have been going on the last week.
Yesterday we had a commissioning service for Drew at church. I will post more about that in a separate post, but it was a great service. This is Pastor Chad talking about Drew.Then we had family pictures for my mother in law, but Uncle Dean did not show up, the bum. We left a space between Sam and Donnie to photoshop him in, lol.
Drew has been playing with shaving his head and beard this week. This picture is one of several that I found on my camera yesterday.
This is Donnie with his sister and her daughter, Lexi. (I am the only one who calls her Lexi, lol)
This picture certainly shows how much Sam looks like his big brother!
OK, I'm off to spend a little time with Drew before we have to bring him to the recruiter. He'll stay in Fargo tonight and leave for basic tomorrow.

October 04, 2008

The strangest realization....

Donnie and I were talking this morning, reflecting on his birthday, and he commented how 19 years ago I was still in the hospital with Drew.
I disagreed, I didn't think it was that long. He thought I was in for a month, and I know it was only 19 days that I was in the hospital.
So, we counted them out and realized that Drew and I left the hospital on Donnie's 20th birthday, and neither of us realized it until 19 years and 1 day later.
The guilt! I don't think I even mentioned his birthday that day. His first as a married man.
Not that I didn't have a LOT going on in my life, having just had a baby in a foreign country in a hospital where no one spoke English, with my baby taken to a different hospital for 16 days, things going wrong on my end and me needing surgery, and then me needing physical therapy to walk again. All without family or friends and my husband working a very busy military exercise.
But still, I feel guilty.
Our children's conceptions and births quite often coincide with holidays and special events, and that is one we didn't even realize.

October 03, 2008

New glasses

I am still in need of new eyeglasses after Sam bent and broke a part of my frame. Thankfully I can still wear them and not have an issue, but they won't last forever.
We are very fortunate that Donnie works for a very large company and has amazing benefits, including vision insurance, so we can get some relief in our eye glass purchases. However, I am not eligible for new frames this next year. (I am waiting to replace these for when the new benefits kick in in January) That means it is out of pocket for me when these frames bite the dust.
How do people do it without insurance?
Zenni Optical got great reviews from the Clark Howard show, but the comments from listeners were pretty mixed reviews. Many, many people found Zenni to be a great company with amazing prices, and several who had something bad happen said it was an error on their part.
I am getting ready to give them a try because their frames are as low as $8, which is a much nicer fit in my budget than $200. Zenni just got some new frames in, too, so the choices just keep getting better! I may even get a second pair just in case Sam gets my glasses AGAIN.



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